It’s been brilliant viewing, we've seen some exceptional cricket and let’s hope this World Cup has started as it means to go on,” writes former England skipper Charlotte Edwards.
Charlotte Edwards is a former England’s women’s captain who played 23 Tests, 191 ODIs and 95 T20Is between 1996 and 2015. She led England to victories in the ICC Women’s World Cup 2009 as well as the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 2009. In 2008, she won the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year award.
The first game of the tournament between England and India on the TV was the perfect way to start this World Cup. I wrote before that women’s cricket needed India to perform well in this tournament and we couldn’t have asked for a better start from it.
The way India came out in that first 10 overs led by Smriti Mandhana’s innings was absolutely brilliant – I think people in India are finally waking up to women’s cricket. India made a really strong statement and it was a brilliant game of cricket to get the tournament underway.
It was a disappointing start for England, but it’s a long tournament and it’s not the end of the world for the home side. There are six more group games and it will play better than that. England will admit that it didn’t start well enough with the ball, let India take the ascendancy and struggled to claw it back.
I still felt, when Katherine Brunt and Fran Wilson were batting, and they needed 75 from the last 10 overs, that England could win. But a few run outs meant it fell short. Wilson’s innings was outstanding. She’s shown that she can have impact games at the County level, but she’d not done it before at international level and I’m sure she’ll take lots of confidence from Saturday. She’s taken her chance at No 5 and it’s great that a young player has grabbed her opportunity and probably cemented her place for the rest of the tournament.
It is certainly not all doom and gloom as far as England is concerned. Ideally, you want to play well, but sometimes it’s really good to get a loss early on. You only have to think of the Pakistan team in the recent Champions Trophy. Sometimes an early defeat can give you a wake up call and make you realise you’ve got to be on every single game, every single ball and not take anything for granted. It’s come at a good time for England and I’m sure it will react in a really positive manner with a thorough all-round performance against Pakistan in its next match.
New Zealand was expected to beat Sri Lanka and did, but Inoka Ranaweera’s side made its highest score in nine ODIs against the White Ferns. At one point it was 141 for one, but New Zealand dragged it back really well with a brilliant spell from Holly Huddlestone. Then Suzie Bates hit the first hundred of this World Cup and Amy Satterthwaite continued her ridiculous run of form. They are two world-class players and there was no surprise there.
The game between South Africa and Pakistan was brilliant. Pakistan did really well to get itself up to 206 and it has already shown it has improved from its tour of England last summer, which is great to see. South Africa got off to a flying start before Pakistan clawed back. It was a really tense finish before some fantastic finishing by Shabnim Ismail taking 16 from the penultimate over was incredible to watch. I’m sure South Africa was feeling the pressure a bit as it was expected to beat Pakistan, but it will take confidence from its bottom order getting it out of trouble.
Australia was simply dominant against a West Indies side which fell away after 35 overs of its innings and 204 was never going to be enough on that Taunton track. When Deandra Dottin and Stafanie Taylor were together at 157 for three they could have launched something over 250, but Elysse Perry got Dottin with a good ball and that changed the game.
Beth Mooney and Nicole Bolton were outstanding. They took it to the West Indies attack and Bolton’s hundred was chanceless. Australia looked a really good outfit and will be buoyed by the manner of that win. It sent a strong message to the rest of the teams that the Aussies mean business.
It was billed as the closest World Cup ever and it’s lived up to that across the first weekend. With Pakistan running South Africa close and India beating England, the tournament is already living up to what we all thought it would be. It’s been brilliant viewing, we've seen some exceptional cricket and let’s hope this World Cup has started as it means to go on.